New Year! New Beginnings!

Dear Saints,

2015 was a year that some would like to remember and some would like to forget. It was certainly a year of highs and lows for many of us, as a church and individuals, but also a year of endings and beginnings.

A new year is a chance for all of us to start fresh and do things differently. It’s also an opportunity to put the past to rest and also to turn and be open to new possibilities. We have many new possibilities here at FPC because of your faithfulness and generosity and…we have new additions to our staff!

Most of you know we are so blessed to have Sherm and Lorrie Skinner formally join us as Parish Associates in October. They were formally commissioned (Silly String and all) and continue to bless us in so many ways. Sherm and Lorrie lead our “Shall We Gather” group which is a collection of folks 60 years or older, who gather monthly to share faith, fellowship and fun. The Skinners also support me and the church in numerous other ways like sharing pastoral care visits, staffing Christian education, worship leadership and preaching and they even sing in the choir! We are so blessed to have them choose us!

We also said good-bye to Norma Moreno, our wonderful church administrator of 9 years. Norma and her husband Sam relocated their family to Dallas to begin Sam’s ministry as a pastor in a Hispanic, Nazarene church. Please hold them in your prayers as they embark on this challenging call from the Lord. Thank you for all that you did to thank, celebrate and fête Norma and her family.

Suddenly we found ourselves on the precipice of much change! We are blessed to announce the arrival of Nancy Arienta as our new church administrator. Nancy started with us Nov 30th. She trained with Norma for the first 2 weeks and then had to jump into the deep end of the pool by working up to and through the Christmas craziness! She has done remarkably well and besides cranking out 4 bulletins in 7 days, she worked feverishly with our electrician to get our spire properly and fully re-lit! (More on the spire lighting and window renovations, next month). Nancy has three children; Courtney, 15, Logan, 10 and Collin, 6. She is also engaged to be married to Pete…wait for it…Van Sant!! We think we are loosely related! Please join me in welcoming Nancy!

But that’s not all…there’s more! We also hired a sexton, Joseph Costa! Joseph’s first day on the job was Dec 21st . Joseph was happy to begin his work with us by vacuuming the sanctuary after the Christmas pageant and Coming of the Light services, left glitter…everywhere! (That stuff is hard to get up, so we might
see vestiges of it until spring!) Joseph was a logistics sergeant in the Army and is working towards a degree in psychology at Morris County College. He lives in Lincoln Park with his sister and has one daughter Ashley, 13, who lives in Germany, with her mother. Please help me in welcoming Joseph. As a reminder, we are blessed with a larger church plant. If you see something that needs cleaning, repair or replacing, please write a note to Joseph in the Custodian’s log (in his mailbox) or let Nancy or me know.

Please join me also in thanking the personnel committee (Connie Kelly, Trish Hererra and Elaine Oussoren) for all their hard work in helping recruit and hire Joseph and Nancy. Please also offer your prayers and support whilst in the midst of the growing pains of new staff.

I know you also join me in a grateful AMEN! for such a blessed Christmas season which would not have been
possible without all your hands and hearts and voices. The sanctuary was decorated beyond the beyond and the music in every service was truly heavenly; a gift from God, through the efforts of children, teens, bells and chancel choirs and the seasoned and spectacular direction of Sarah Berta.

We are blessed.We are blessed. We are blessed!

Lastly I thank you for your patient and unending support in this past year. You are truly God’s faithful; giving your utmost for God’s highest.

Hoping for a blessed 2016, with you, in Christ,
♥ Jen